It is unfathomable the amount of time and energy that is put into the DolfansNYC MetLife Takeover event. From off-season planning, to securing tickets, to sending tickets, to organizing every detail from start to finish. It’s an amazing experience.
For years all I have heard is how loud the DolfansNYC contingent is on game day. It’s common to hear the network broadcast team comment on the level of noise that the group puts out. It’s become standard post-game commentary from the players and the Dolphins that the upper level fans made a difference. Heard on the field by the players.
This was my first trip to New York so it was obviously my first trip to MetLife Stadium. As the tailgate party wound down we began the trek to the stadium. Fans of both teams filed in to the turnstiles to enter the stadium gates.
This was the Jets home opener and they were passing out free N.Y. Jets flags, hey it’s free right? Jets whatever, it’s free. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Free or not, I walked away and saved one flag from being burned sometime in the near future.
Entering the stadium area I was surprised at the number of Dolphins fans in attendance. We took the escalator up to the second floor and then two others to reach the very top. I understand now why the stadium can be so loud. Its high bowls make for perfect acoustics and how they DolfansNYC group chose the upper corner sections is unknown to me but the angle makes for a loud reverberation, even if you are sitting there.
On this Sunday it was hot. As in Miami hot. The temperature read 85 outside the stadium but in direct sunlight with no cloud or coverage it felt well over 95 possibly 100. These Dolphins fans, most of them, are not used to attending these types of games. This was the first early season game for the MetLife Takeover and the sweltering heat was taking its toll.
When the Jets took the field, I felt as though the stadium was shaking. The amount of boo’s that came over the two sections held down by Dolphins fans was crazy. As the Dolphins took the field I couldn’t hear myself talk to the guy next to me. When they say these fans are loud, they are in no way kidding.
The first quarter was obviously the best as Cameron Wake sacked Josh McCown on the first series. The crowd around me erupted. Throughout the game chants of “Let’s go Dolphins” was screamed downward to the players below. In neighboring sections, Jets fans stood and stared at the large group. Often shaking their heads.
When a Jets fan started their fan’s chants of “JETS – Jets, Jets, Jets” Miami fans drowned them out with Suck, Suck, Suck. It was so loud and deafening that the nearby Jets fans wouldn’t bother trying until later in the game.
I wish I could say that the noise continued but by the 4th quarter the energy on the field was all but gone. The Dolphins didn’t give this crowd much to cheer for and despite the performance on the field, the Dolphins fans never quit in those two sections. Despite the heat which by the third quarter had cooled as a shadow spread across the sections, these devoted fans continued their pace. I heard many times “I can’t go home with a voice. I have to lose it here in these stands”. They gave it a valiant effort for sure.
The MetLife Takeover group held strong all the way until the end, and when the Dolphins scored their only points of the game as the clock hit zero, the began to sing the Dolphins fight song. “Miami has the Dolphins…” Their spirit was not close to being dead.
For me there were two things that surprised me. Pleasantly. One, this crowd and group of “super-fans” are some of the most dedicated Dolphins fans I have ever seen in person. I would wager that there is no other group this large for any other NFL team that supports their team like these fans do at an away game.
Second, I was shocked to see how the comradery between the Jets fans and the Dolphins fans actually was. The Jets fans took everything the Dolphins fans threw at them early and the Dolphins fans took it all in stride when the game got of hand. There were no fights, no shouts in anger or hateful remarks. It was literally good-natured ribbing between two groups of fans.
After the game was over, I took my walk of shame along with all the other Dolphins fans as we left the stadium. The Jets fans got a few more friendly pokes at us but it was all in good fun. One Jets fan in the parking lot offered me a beer, “here man, you look like you could use this”. Whether it was from the dripping sweat or the shocked look on my face after we lost. I shook his hand and said thanks but politely declined. I still had a long day ahead of me.
As the game wound down, Michelle Kramer, co-founder of the DolfansNYC group, looked at me and said, “you have to come back next year. You didn’t get to hear how loud we actually are”.
I had to let that sink in for a minute. My ears were still ringing from the first half of the game.
NOTE: In the next two weeks I will be posting 360 degree virtual reality video of the Metlife Takeover tailgate party so stay tuned!